I have curated the current season of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival at UMass Amherst focusing on the theme “Indigeneities.” Over the past decade, Indigenous cinema has emerged from geographically-scattered and locally-based production centers to become part of a globally-linked media network with increasing reach and transnational presence. “Indigeneities” will explore how contemporary Indigenous filmmakers and media artists leverage moving image forms to directly address the politics of identity and representation. The films screened this season address Indigeneity, or Indigenous identity, through a range of cinematic genres– animation and 16mm film; hybrid documentary and feminist philosophy; historical reenactment and science fiction – both engaging and challenging the dominant mainstream media forms. The festival will feature films and media artworks by Zacarias Kunuk, Danis Goulet, Vick Quezada, Sky Hopinka, Tracey Moffet, Rhayne Vermette, Aleksei Vakhrushev, and a special lecture by Ng’endo Mukii. Please refer to the schedule for more information on how to access the films and videos online
Survivance: Arnait Video Productions is now on view at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo, NY through December 23. Survivance: Arnait Video Productions celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Igloolik, Nunavut-based women’s media collective, Arnait Video Productions (AVP). The exhibition includes videos, installation, mixed media sculpture and fiber works spanning AVP’s career.
Gerald Vizenor’s defines survivance as an active sense of presence, the continuance of native stories, not a mere reaction, or a survivable name. The exhibition explores how AVP have utilized communication technologies to reconnect to lost traditions & give voice to contemporary issues of urgency, while also celebrating the range & depth of AVP’s artistry.
AVP was formed in in 1991 by Madeline Ivalu, Susan Avingaq, Martha Makkar, Mathilda Hanniliaq & Marie-Hélène Cousineau. Their films & videos have focused on themes ranging from post-contact family life & the transmission of oral traditions to vital contemporary issues such as youth suicide, climate change & environmental destruction from mining. AVP has engaged a range of genres to depict Inuit life including historical reenactment, animation & mixed media artworks.
Survivance: Arnait Video Productions is curated by Laura McGough
Art Jones: Disidentifications, a show I curated for the Heter Art Gallery at UMass Amherst, is now on view.
Art Jones: Disidentifications celebrates the 30-year career of artist, Art Jones. Working across film, video, live media performance, and 3-D printed sculptures, Jones’ explores how social information is both transmitted and received. Experimentation with traditional media forms through the manipulation of image, sound, text, and data is a key component in this exploration. In the early 1990s, Jones developed a unique visual hip hop aesthetic that translated the aural qualities of rap music to moving images. In a series of three videos addressing the early hip hop music scene, Jones introduced video noise, rapid-fire repetitive editing, and image distortion to the traditional documentary format. Two of these videos, Media Assassin (1990) and Know Your Enemy (1991) are included in the exhibition. With Fell on Financial Crisis (2018), Jones’ returned to the documentary format, this time producing a karaoke-style video that remixes footage from Operation Wall Street and the French yellow vest economic protests with lyrics from “Fell on Black Days” by Soundgarden. Other recent videos playfully examine the interplay between moving image, audio, and text. Afro-Futurist Vernacular (2019), for example, explores the poetic possibilities of mis-translation as a computerized Siri-like voice misreads the lyrics to “Earth People” by Dr. Octagon (aka Kool Keith). The exhibition also features blue/lives (2018-2021), a moving series of 3D-printed topological sculptures that map the sites of fatal encounter between unarmed civilians and law enforcement in the United States.
Art Jones’s multimedia, video, and installation work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally at venues such as Ars Electronica, MOMA, Tate Gallery, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning and LA Freewaves, among others. He works in a variety of old and new media interfaces and continues to perform at various locations. He is from the Bronx, New York, and lives in New York City.
Art Jones: Disidentifications will open for viewing with special evening hours on Thursday, September 23, 2021, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. A closing event, featuring a live video performance by Art Jones, will take place at the Studio Arts Building at UMass Amherst on Friday, October 22 at 6:00 p.m.
“Vegetal filmmaking is not concerned with the thematic or symbolic use of plants in cinema, What it aims at, instead, is the incorporation of the perspective of plant-thinking as a structural mechanism for the production of images.” Graig Uhlin, “Plant-Thinking with Film: Reed, Branch, Flower.”
As part of my research into the materiality of film conducted during a virtual summer residency with Project:Soils, I am creating a number of Arbor Film Loops. Found footage film stock is looped around trees and left to the elements to naturally alter. As rain and elements degrade and sunshine illuminates the filmstrip, twigs, leaves and branches become part of the image.
The Arbor Film Loops are meant to be experienced live, in-person, as cinema, but are also documented in photographs and short video clips.
Arbor Film Loop No, 1, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, June 2021 featuring The Kirtland’s Warbler, 16mm color, produced by Walter and Myrna Berlet.
I’ll be moderating a panel on Speculative Futures in conjunction with Armando Lopez-Bircann’s solo exhibition, Arma the Oracle: Extended Reality (XR) at Transformer Gallery in Washington, DC.
Transformer’s ongoing FRAMEWORK Panel Series returns with FRAMEWORK Panel #30: Speculative Futures – a panel discussion with artists, educators, and activists that explores speculative futures, and the cultural, ethical, environmental, political, and economic systems that will all contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future.
The world has experienced numerous major events, including ecological disasters, social unrest, human rights violations, and political turmoil, with increasing frequency within the past decade. As these disturbances occur at a higher rate, many artists, educators, politicians, and scientists have turned to consider the future and evaluate which components should, and should not, be included in this future.
In addition to exploring these components, the panelists will also discuss what the role of art and artists is in ensuring this envisioned future, as well as the impact of technology, surveillance, and social networks are to achieving these goals.
Presented in conjunction with Armando Lopez-Bircann’s solo exhibition, Arma the Oracle: Extended Reality (XR), in which the artist shares their vision of an ethical queer future. This exhibition is currently on view in Transformer’s storefront window, and is presented as a part of Looking In/Looking Out – a series of three solo storefront exhibitions by DC-based artists intended to encourage audiences to look within themselves and outward at the world.
The panel is free to attend, and will be held via Zoom. This program will include automatic closed-captions. You can join the panel here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86569717519…
Panel ID: 865 6971 7519
View documentation of the panel at: https://bit.ly/3u1reIC
In June of 2021, I will be in residence at Project: Soils @ Swale House on Governor’s Island/NYC where I will continue my research on “soil cinema” and the materialist aesthetics of mud, dirt, earth and dust in contemporary experimental film and video. As part of this research, I will be burying exposed film stock and exploring the process of frame-by-frame decay of the image via soil’s living biomass.
I’ll be speaking today on my recent research into media, materiality and the coal industry as part of the UMass HFA “Five at Four” series. My talk will focus on my work to renarrativize silent cinema to reveal narratives of off-screen labor of coal miners, colorists, chemists and others who labored at the intersection of the coal and film industries.
Notes Towards an Infinite Film, an online screening series of video, film and digital media curated for Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center’s Virtual Video Viewing Room, continues with Program II: Signal, Skin, Pixel, Camera. The program will be online from June 22 through July 31.
Notes Towards an Infinite Film is a series of online screenings that surveys four decades of film, video and new media work created by Buffalo’s extended community of media artists. The experimental works that comprise Signal, Skin, Pixel, Camera interrogate the material properties of film, video and digital moving images. The skin, or the emulsion, of film is reconsidered as cinematic image through hand-processing and chemical alteration. Software tools glitch and pixelate the digital image revealing its display elements. Image processing instruments foreground video’s noisy electronic signal. Rich, lush color is culled from the electronic eye of the camera. The resulting works offer viewers a richly sensual and haptic visual experience and entry into a unique conversation across decades of Buffalo film and video history.
Notes Towards an Infinite Film, an online screening series of video, film and digital media curated for Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center’s Virtual Video Viewing Room, launches on Monday, May 25 with “Program One: The Promise of Props.”
Notes Towards an Infinite Film is a series of online screenings that surveys four decades of film, video and new media work created by Buffalo New York’s extended community of media artists. Channeling the spirit of Hallwalls’ physical video viewing rooms of yore, each program will be online and viewable for two weeks before being archived. Visitors are invited to spend time with individual videos and films, following the program Laura has curated or self-curating their own version. The films and videos presented as part of The Promise of Props engage a quintessential and identifiable Buffalo media genre – the experimental narrative. Playfully transforming narrative through the use of props and costume, these works demonstrate how experiments in film and video can extend beyond cinematic form and structure to the storytelling process itself. Fisher Price toys and plastic cowboy figurines, photographs and Hostess snack cakes, accordions and playing cards, all become performative tools through which the artists create visual fables that are, in turn, whimsical and droll, farcical and poignant: a lonely spaceman finds himself lost and confused amidst the violent culture of gun-toting cowboys; a young woman searches for identity across a landscape of magazine covers; an array of dolls enact a story of class consciousness and envy; individually packaged cupcakes express gender politics; eggs and potatoes convey mystical qualities. Exploring issues ranging from gender construction and the environmental impact of tourism to memory, ritual and tradition, the films and videos that comprise this program demonstrate that the promise of props lies in their capacity to imaginatively convey a host of real-life concerns.
Featuring work by Emily Anderson and Jen Morris, Don Bernier, Dorothea Braemer and David Kluft, Ruth Goldman, Cheryl Jackson, Carl Lee, Lara Odell and Anya Lewin, John Saxe, and Kelly Spivey.